Tag Archives: direct cremation plan

Direct Cremation Plans: Good, Bad, Indifferent? We have strong views…

Direct Cremation Plans reviewed

Direct to Cremation?

Direct cremation plans are the cheapest proper prepaid funeral plan. Some of the other low cost “funeral plan” options leave out minor details like the actual funeral. That is just one of the reasons you should ask for our advice! But good direct to crematorium funeral plans do cover all the costs detailed.  Remember that word “detailed” – small print is very important! BUT read on…. or visit our Direct Cremation Plan Reviews page if you have already decided it is the right type plan for your family: we keep a very close eye on the market so we can steer clients away from poor value plans, (even if they do have very persuasive booklets and salespeople!)  One of the tricks of the trade used by some firms is to try to avoid giving you much information so they have a chance to send a well-trained salesman out who has a 4x greater chance of selling you a plan, sometimes because it is the only way to get rid of them!

In summary: a direct cremation plan is a funeral with no service or other family involvement at the time.  No reason you can’t have a celebration or wake afterwards though. It is just so non-traditional that friends and family make be deeply upset if it is unexpected. What we are talking about on this site is prepaid funeral with no ceremony plans.  Burial does not currently feature as an option, but it may well do in future, but the price will then have to include the purchase of a burial plot which will be in an inexpensive area almost certainly far from home.

Direct cremation plans are now being offered by an increasing number of firms, so we now have a list of companies offering funerals without a ceremony (let us know if we have missed anyone), plus our internal research papers so we can guide you to the4 most suitable plan if you go down this route.  That is what we use to offer the best possible advice on choosing the right plan for you, your family and friends, and your bank balance!  Give us a call for advice – you can leave a message out of office hours.

So what is a Cremation with no Service plan?

Cremation with no ceremony or “Direct cremation” plans are where the undertaker collects the deceased and takes them directly to a crematorium of the undertakers choice, often via their offices.  The family have generally have no involvement in the process, which may well all be over before they find out.

The crematorium will rarely be the local one, the choice will be made by the funeral director who will be looking for the cheapest one within reach of their premises. Indeed, one major play is building its own crematorium for the purpose, which will be running 7 days a week 24 hours a day to cut costs further.  Generally speaking transport to the crematorium may be in a (nice) funeral van and not in a hearse.  It will also take place out of normal crematorium peak hours when costs are lower. Very often these services are run from a single location covering the whole of the UK. They will collect a few people, then arrange a trip to the most economical crematorium.  There is no disrespect, they will all be cremated separately.  You will also need to check what happens to the ashes and be clear whether or not you wish them to be returned.

Direct Cremation Plans: a summary.

So the direct to crematorium route is cheap but impersonal. Therefore it does run the risk of upsetting friends and relatives who want to say a more conventional goodbye. Of course, there is nothing to stop people having a memorial service after the event, but that may not be OK with everyone.

With normal prepayment funeral plans, it is possible for the family to make changes to the arrangements after death, to accommodate your or their wishes and needs. With a direct cremation plan, this may not be so easy as the funeral director may come from some distance away. They are likely to collect the deceased and – if the necessary certificates are ready – go direct to a crematorium. In many cases it will not be possible to change the arrangements at all.

We can certainly see that there is a market for direct crem plans. We do have concerns that they may – perhaps unexpectedly – cause great distress to family and friends who are left behind and are perhaps powerless.

So if you want the cheapest possible funeral plan, this is the one. But think twice before buying. Perhaps it would be better to put down a deposit on a more conventional funeral plan and pay the balance in instalments. Just our view!  Why not call us to discuss things? 0800 0588 240.  Or use the enquiry form to the right.

Direct cremation funeral plans.  Are they right for you and your family?

Types of Funeral Plans – Which Ones To Avoid?

Types of Funeral Plans to Buy or Avoid.

TTypes of funeral plan explainedhere are many types of funeral plans. The trouble is many are not actually designed to pay for funerals. We understand more plans are sold which are not designed to pay for funerals than ones which are. Why on earth would anyone buy such a plan? Clever marketing and lack of understanding.   Read our article about them!

Types of funeral plan adviser and website.

Nearly all funeral plan advisers and websites are set up to sell one companies products. So everyone else is either ignored or show in an unfavourable light. The Research Team at the Prepaid Funeral Review are independent experts, and we review as many plans as we can get our hands on. Bear in mind that several of the leading providers let big sellers “white label” their plans.  That means same plan, different name and brochure and maybe a slight change in price.   But back to types of funeral plans. We’ll start off with plans to avoid (for most people.)

Types of Funeral Plan to Avoid.

There is a type of life insurance called “non-profit whole of life” which is unregulated and in our opinion should be banned. It forms the basis of many so called “Over 50s” plans often promoted by famous personalities. What most of them offer:

  • A fixed death benefit after (typically) the first 2 years.
  • No medical questions (there are none for proper funeral plans either.)
  • No cash value at any time.  So if you miss a couple of premiums before you die, you lose every penny.
  • Crucially, no inflation proofing, so after 12 years the plan you take out to cover the cost of a funeral today might cover half of the cost. And that is if funeral cost inflation reduces to 6%.
  • They are such bad value that some have now introduced a guarantee that they will return your payments in full when you die! Provided of course you haven’t lost everything by missing payments.

Types of Funeral Plans to Consider.

Insurance Linked Plans – relatively low monthly costs.

There are one or two of this type of plan which are genuinely set up to pay for a funeral, and the benefits to some extent linked with those costs. These are not our favourites, but they do have a real place in the market which we are not going to go into here. You still have the problem that payments must be kept up, but you are buying specific funeral services, so inflation is less of an issue.

Direct Cremation Plans – – much cheaper than standard plans BUT….

These are essentially funeral plans with no family attendance or service.  Most offer no possibility to view the deceased after they have been collected by the undertaker, typically in funeral ambulance. We are concerned that some family and friends will be shocked that they don’t get a conventional chance to say goodbye.

That said, they are the cheapest way to get a proper funeral plan and some providers will let you upgrade at any time up to the point where the undertaker is called out.

Funeral Directors Fees ONLY Plans.

This is where things start to get dangerous for those who don’t really understand what they are buying, or don’t make it clear to family. Roughly two thirds of a standard funeral is covered by this sort of plan. They do NOT cover “disbursements” or third party costs (in English). So the family will have to pay for the crematorium and service, for the doctors fees where relevant and for the minister or celebrant. At the moment, £1100 would be affair average for that, but costs are increasing all the time. Many Dignity owned crematoria charge £999 just for a basic cremation alone in early 2017, on top of the funeral directors fees etc! The average is around 30% lower.

Types of Funeral Plans: Cut Down Plans.

In an effort to sell cheap plans, most funeral plan companies now have these.   Again, they are fine if you and the family understand them. They save money by using out of hours times at crematoriums which might be as much as 50 miles away. So relatives just could have to travel 50 miles through rush hour traffic to get to a 9.30 am cremation. Far from ideal, especially as the savings are not vast. These plans are only available for cremations.

 Types of Funeral Plans: Standard Funeral Plans.

They typically cover the funeral directors costs, and make an index linked allowance towards the third party costs. So you have money towards cremation and a service and doctors fees, which in most cases should be enough. If there is a shortfall, then the family will need to pay the extra, but it should be relatively modest. These are our favourite sort of plans as they are not too expensive. They cover the basics so no one is going to have to find lots of cash when you die.

Like the following plans, these can be used for burials.  In those circumstances, the third party allowance goes towards the cost of digging and refilling the grave.  The cost of a burial plot is not included, they have to be purchased separately. Church services will nearly always cost more.

 Mid Range Funeral Plans.

Usually the same as the standard ones, with a limousine for the family added. Some will add extra bearers or a slightly posher coffin.

 Top of the Range Plans

Most add a further limousine, a posher coffin and maybe a spray of flowers and a few other fairly minor items. But you can add pretty much whatever you like.

Guaranteed Funeral Plans

All guaranteed funeral plans are not equal – have a look at our page on them.

 When the day comes:

When the day for dealing with the undertaker does arrive, your family can avoid being guilt- tripped into spending potentially vast amounts of money on extras which you would have hated them to waste money on!

Low Cost Cremation Plans – The Way Forward?

Low Cost Cremation Plans – are they the way forward?

Leading bereavement expert says MPs’ Report On The State of Funeral Provision Is inaccurate. As British Funeral Culture Is Changing Rapidly. We at the Prepaid Funeral Review feel that there is some truth in that.  However, in the vast majority of cases, there will be significant emotional problems for at least some of those left behind. But that is just our view.  We have no problem organising great value low cost cremation plans for people who really understand them. Our concern is over the meaning of the word “direct” and the lack of understanding.

Direct Cremation and Low cost cremation: the answer to funeral poverty?

Following the Parliamentary Work and Pensions Select Committee’s damning report into the state of funeral provision for the poorer elements of society, a leading UK funeral expert believes the solutions to the problems already exist.

Maybe there is already a solution.    Simple out of normal hours cremation, and direct cremation plans where the deceased is cremated at a low cost crematorium. That crematorium may be hundreds of miles away.  Most do not allow the family to attend even if they could. There is a market for that, and some high profile celebrities like David Bowie have drawn greater attention to this as an option.

The Select Committee findings criticised the “opaque and outdated” state support arrangements for those unable to afford the cost of a funeral. Also the rigid definitions around whom the Government deems to have been “close” to the deceased. And fair game to be lumbered with the cost. Howard Hodgson, an innovative funeral director, agrees, pointing out that the provisions have not been reviewed for 13 years. However, he goes on to criticise its’ dated assessment of the market.  He says that there is no need for the intervention of the competition watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority.

Low cost cremation plans – why are they now acceptable to some?

Hodgson says the report fails to recognise that the market has changed dramatically to meet increased demand for low cost direct cremation.  Hodgson says there are two main drivers for this change:

  1. Financial considerations: fewer people are willing or able to afford funeral from normal cash reserves. Funeral poverty affects a significant proportion of the population.  Unless, of course, they have taken our advice and invested in a prepaid funeral plan!
  2. Less religious concerns for many of the population.

Reacting to the Select Committee’s report, Howard Hodgson said;

At Memoria it has become evident to us that there is an increasing desire by a growing section of the general public for a low cost direct cremation service. We do not believe that this will totally replace the traditional funeral but we do have significant evidence that it is increasing its market share at an impressive rate, signifying a distinct cultural change in the way people are approaching funerals.

Therefore, we believe that there is not only a moral need to supply this legitimate demand, but that such provision can also reduce the cost of a funeral by around 70%.  This must be good news for both the less well off and the public purse.

Just to ignore this trend is not in the interest of either the funeral industry or the Government. Indeed, no costly Government intervention is necessary because the market has found a solution to the problem as it usually does in a free enterprise economy.

We are now seeing a groundbreaking change as the baby boomers start to end their days. This generation changed the fashion of life and now it is changing the fashion of death. This is good news for families who want to select low cost direct cremation and yet does not impact at all on those who don’t.” 

Low Cost Cremation – Good, Bad, Indifferent?

Stephen Pett of the Prepaid Funeral Review said “Any financial preparation for a funeral has to be good for those left behind.  Direct Cremation Plans are increasingly an acceptable form of planning, but only in the right family context.  Why not contact us for advice?”